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Henrik 36 Saves and Hat Trick by Brass force a Game 7 versus Tampa

The Rangers are 44-0-1 when leading after the second period this season.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos


The New York Rangers once again found themselves in an elimination game, as they took to the ice to face the Tampa Bay Lightning down 3-2 in this Eastern Conference Finals. One loss, one slip up, one mistake and their season would be over. But they did not make those slips, they did not make many mistakes and those mistakes they did make, Henrik Lundqvist was there to keep the puck out of the net.

The defense was sharp and Henrik was the King once more.

The first Ranger shot on net was a goal by Derick Brassard, as he took a nifty pass from J.T. Miller and waited a heartbeat to open up Ben Bishop and neatly tucked the puck between his pads.

The Lightning then turned up the heat a bit more, but the defense and Lundqvist weathered the storm nicely and then a counter attack by the Rangers set up their second goal of the period. Rick Nash passed it to Brassard, who swung it over to Keith Yandle, who also hesitated just a bit and then let a wrist shot fly that struck a Tampa player in front and sailed past Bishop. 2-0 Rangers.

The incompetence of the referees reared its ugly head once again. A cheap hit from behind by Steven Stamkos on Ryan McDonagh sent the Ranger defenseman crashing into the boards. It should have been a penalty, but the ref swallowed his whistle. Subsequently, Chris Kreider leveled Stamkos with a beautiful check, but then cross checked Stamkos for the latter’s hit on the Captain. Stamkos and Stepan than got into it, and all three were sent off with cross checking penalties.

My beef with all of this is the following: if the refs had called it correctly; Stamkos would have been in the box and the Rangers would have had a Power Play. But they did not call that. Secondly; since Stepan was bleeding from a cross check by Stamkos; he should have received a four minute penalty for drawing blood with his stick. Again the refs did not call that.

Instead, Tampa received a Power Play and were able to convert when a head man pass by Anton Stralman found Ryan Callahan behind the Ranger defense. The former Ranger Captain sped in on Lundqvist and beat him to the stick side with a nifty backhander. But, the opportunity for the Lightning should have never occurred. The refs blew the call and allowed Stamkos to get away with a dirty, cheap shot on McDonagh. It did not seriously hurt the Rangers, but it very well could have.

During the second period, New York found themselves under constant pressure, but Lundqvist kept his team on top by making some awesome saves on Tampa shots. He would not allow the Lightning to score the tying goal and they could not bend his will nor score on his net.

Surviving the second period allowed the Rangers to catch their breath and come out for the third all fired up. And fired up they were, as they scored three goals in under five minutes. J.T. Miller banked a shot off of the backside of Bishop, as Brassard was stopped by a sick save by Bishop, who was flat on his back, but got the puck back and fed Miller in front.

Then the fourth line of James Sheppard-Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore; would not allow the puck out of the Tampa end and then as the puck came free; Dominic Moore skated in a blasted a shot at Bishop. The Tampa goalie stopped the shot, but the rebound came to Glass, who shifted it over to a charging James Sheppard. Shep took a shot, it was stopped by Bishop, but then bounce off of Shep’s knee and into the net. It was a grinder goal and gave the Rangers a two goal lead.

Then it was Miller returning the favor, as he took a pass from Rick Nash, who had stolen the puck after a great fore check, and faked a shot and found Brass who stopped it and fired it past a diving Bishop to make the score 5-1.

Bishop was then lifted in favor of Andrei Vasilevsky and the arena fell silent.

Nikita Kucherov would score two late goals. The first should have been stopped by Hank, but he fanned on it with his glove; and the second came on a great pass by Tyler Johnson.

The Rangers added a Power Play goal by Rick Nash, who converted a Keith Yandle shot, by getting the rebound and staying with the puck and sending his second attempt home.

The last goal of the game was an empty net goal by Derick Brassard, who completed the hat trick and total domination of the third period by the Rangers.

The Rangers survived the second as Hank was a stonewall and they exploded on the Lightning in the third, to score four goals. The series is now tied at 3-3 and Game 7 will be Friday May 29th at 8:00PM EST at MSG.



NYR: Derick Brassard (7) Assisted by J.T. Miller & Dan Boyle

NYR: Keith Yandle (2) Assisted by Derick Brassard & Rick Nash

TBL: Ryan Callahan (1) PPG Assisted by Anton Stralman & Ben Bishop

NYR: J.T. Miller (1) Assisted by Derick Brassard & Rick Nash

NYR: James Sheppard (1) Assisted by Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass

NYR: Derick Brassard (8) Assisted by J.T. Miller & Rick Nash

TBL: Nikita Kucherov (8) Assisted by Tyler Johnson

NYR: Rick Nash (5) PPG Assisted by Keith Yandle and J.T. Miller

TBL: Nikita Kucherov (9) Assisted by Tyler Johnson & Nikita Nesterov

NYR: Derick Brassard (9) ENG Unassisted


Team Stats                              NYR                              TBL

Shots on Goal                         34                                  39

Power Play                              1 for 3                           1 for 3

Face Off Wins                        35                                  31

Hits                                         27                                  22

Giveaways                              8                                    11

Takeaways                             9                                    7

Blocked Shots                         17                                  12


Goalie Stats:

Ben Bishop: 21 Saves on 26 Shots for a SV% of .808

Andrei Vasilevsky: 6 Saves on 7 Shots for a SV% of .857

Henrik Lundqvist: 36 Saves on 39 Shots for a SV% of .923



3 Stars of the Game:

3rd Star: J. T. Miller: 1 Goal and 3 Assists

2nd Star: Henrik Lundqvist: 26 Saves on 39 Shots for a SV% of .923

1st Star: Derick Brassard: 3 Goals and 2 Assists


Broadway Bits:

The Rangers are now 15-3 in their last 18 elimination games

Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash are the first three Rangers in franchise history who all recorded four points in a playoff game.

Dan Boyle and Keith Yandle are the first two Ranger Defensemen to record 10 points in a playoff series since 2012, and only the second time since the 1995 playoffs

Ranger Defensemen have registered 16 points (four goals and 12 assists) in the last four games

The Rangers are 44-0-1 when leading after the second period this regular season and playoffs combined

This was the 100th game of the season for the Blueshirts (regular season and playoffs combined). This is the second straight year that it has happened and the fourth in team history (193-94, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15)

Derick Brassard had three goals, two assists, 10 shots on goal and posted a plus five rating

Henrik Lundqvist is 4-0 this playoff season in elimination games, with a 1.84 GAA and a SV% of .946

J.T. Miller had one goal, three assists and posted a plus four rating

Alain Vigneault posted his 61st career playoff victory, which ties him with Claude Julien and Jacques Lamaire

Rick Nash had one goal, three assists, five shots on goal and posted a plus four rating

Keith Yandle had one goal, one assist, three shots on goal and posted a plus two rating

James Sheppard had his first playoff goal of the season, the game winning goal, one hit and one blocked shot

Dan Boyle had an assist and posted a plus two rating

Tanner Glass recorded his first assist in this playoff season, led the team with five hits in 10:13 of ice time

Dominic Moore had an assist and led all skaters with 18 face off wins

Marc Staal skated in his 86th playoff game, passing Don Maloney for sole possession of third place

Ryan McDonagh skated in his 80th playoff game, passing Rod Gilbert for sole possession of seventh place

The Rangers will now return to MSG for Game 7 to be played on Friday May 29th at 8:00PM EST

The Rangers took the Pittsburgh series in OT on a Friday at the Garden

The Rangers took the Washington series in OT on a Friday at the Garden

Now the Rangers look to take the Tampa series on a Friday at the Garden

I will be at Hockey House at Madison Square Garden on Friday for Game 7

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